Two distinct pathways for developmental coordination disorder: persistence and resolution

Marja H Cantell, Mary M Smyth, Timo P Ahonen
Human Movement Science 2003, 22 (4): 413-31
This article describes the perceptual motor, educational and social outcome of early motor delay in a group of 17-18 year old Finnish adolescents who were originally evaluated at age 5. The study group consisted of 65 adolescents: 22 with significant motor problems (or developmental coordination disorder, DCD), 23 with minor motor problems (intermediate group) and 20 controls. The goal of this study was to reassess the results obtained when they were age 15 and to determine whether the variables used earlier could still discriminate the adolescents at age 17. The results showed that at age 17 all perceptual motor tasks differentiated the three groups. The DCD group performed less well than the control group on all tasks, with the intermediate group situated between these two. Discriminant function analyses showed that more classification errors occurred between the control and intermediate groups at age 17 than at age 15, suggesting that the distinction between these groups becomes more difficult with age. In the educational domain, similar to the findings at age 15, the adolescents with DCD had the lowest WAIS scores and shortest school careers of the three groups. In the social domain, as found two years earlier, the DCD group had the lowest perceptions of athletic and scholastic competence while the intermediate and control groups did not differ. In addition, the interview results indicated that the three groups were in different stages of identity development. In sum, the outcome at age 17 was a replication of the results obtained at age 15 and suggests two developmental paths for those with early perceptual motor problems: 'persistence' and 'catching up'.

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